• Published 6th Jan 2013
  • 567 Views, 20 Comments

By One's Own Merit - SolvableSphinx

There's a conspiracy surrounding Rainbow Dash, and she's sick of it. She wants it go away. But then, what we want is not always what we need. (Mature language)

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Chapter 2: Past (flashbacks)

Dear Baroness Morning Star,

I understand fully the new constitution which constrains us all. Rest assure, though, that there is nothing nefarious happening in Ponyville. That these aid packages have been relatively secret has been the result of my own disgression.

The Ponyville Retirement and Rehabilitation Program has been what I considered one of the most successful charitable programs that the crown has undertaken. The personalities there need protection, and the best protection is anonymity. Some of these ponies have requested clemency or amnesty, and my aid would be politically sensitive. Not to mention the risk of an incindent if things get out of hand.

I have my best ponies ensuring that everything goes according to plan outlined in the Ponyville Charter, which is derived from noble’s and common law. My obligations to these ponies predates the constitution by over a century, and I still intend to keep my word.


H.M.S.M. Celestia, Diarch of the Sun, Divine Head of State, Princess of the Magical Land of Equestria, her colonies and dependencies, Protector of the Realm, Defender of Harmony, etc.


“Welp, we’re autocrats. What now?” Rainbow asked.

Rainbow and Rarity stood on a small hill, overlooking the village. The two fillies would not know what fate awaited them, simply what had been dealt to them right now. The young unicorn filly was a Lady now, mistress of a small village of serfs and artisans, as well as the surrounding farmland. The pegasus, familiar save for her pure white hair and mane, was her steward and her bodyguard. For certain values of the word, at least.

“Rainbow, I realize that you hate the aristocracy, but now is not the time to fall into self loathing,” Rarity replied.

“What self loathing? I’m just a happy autocrat, scheming to steal the wealth of the people. Yep, that’s totally me,” Rainbow stated with sarcastic cheer. “Why, I even got the shiny new clothes for it. Look at how shiny they are!”

In truth only Rarity’s clothes were particularly shiny, being a fine silk dress with plenty of lace, jewels and silver stitching. Her tiara was also fairly shiny, although subdued, being of polished steel. Rainbow on the other hand simply had ‘very good clothes’, a brown functional affair with polished brass buttons.

“Rainbow, if we are to rule effectively we must overcome the ideas and morals of the culture we were raised in. Chief among them being that clothes are optional,” Rarity ground out. “How I rule will depend on the advice of my advisors.”

Rainbow snorted. “What rule? You’re uncle’s trying to be nice Rarity. This gets us out of the way while your relatives plot revenge against the Gong.”

“I don’t see how this precludes my ruling of this… village,” Rarity said.

“How many advisors do you really have?” Rainbow asked.

“Well…” Rarity said, looking to the side. “Maybe… half a dozen…”

“And how fertile is this land?” Rainbow continued.

“Okay, it’s absolutely barren,” Rarity responded. “So what? This is a better start than getting our blank flanks kicked every day by schoolyard bullies.”

“Yeah…” Rainbow said sullen. “Feel different now that we got big fancy titles?”

“No. They haven’t come in yet. They’re not going to come in,” Rarity replied.

“Oh, they’ll come in. I feel it. And they’ll be the biggest, most beautiful thing anypony has ever seen.”

“Size doesn’t matter. Shape does,” Rarity stated.

“Oh, the shape has to be attractive. But size is important too. Can’t have ‘em too tiny to see,” Rainbow said.

“… are you sure we are still talking about our cutie marks?” Rarity asked.

“No, I’m talking about our manes,” Rainbow replied. “Of course I’m talking about our cutie marks! What’s more important than that?”

The pegasus filly before the two young mares was a sad example of pony’s inhumanity to other ponies. When they found her, her clothes were torn and dirty. Her straw yellow mane was limp and stringy. She was starving, half the weight of a normal pony her age and only slightly smaller than average size. She wouldn’t speak, and she was clutching a courier bag with all the might her tiny frame could muster.

The servants in the newly built mansion helped the poor thing, feeding her and bathing her. Nurse Redheart, the stern governess who normally taught and cared for Rainbow and Rarity, tended to the poor thing with the upmost care. While she still seemed half feral, she was no longer trying to bite everyone in sight.

It was her googly eye stare that was most disconcerting. One eye was simply paralyzed in place, nearly rolling over, while the other one looked around, quietly categorizing everything and everyone around her. When not doing that, it seemed blank, almost devoid of emotion.

“Now then, darling,” Rarity began, using a word she rather liked that she picked up from the cook, “where did you come from?”

“East,” the filly replied.

“Where were you going?” Rainbow asked.

“West,” the filly deadpanned.

“Why?” Rarity asked.

It was a question to which the mare received no answer to. Instead the filly’s eyes began to glissen, filling with tears.

“Let’s skip that part,” Rainbow said, clearly having more tact out of the two for once. “What was in the bag?”

“Books,” the filly replied.

“What are they about?” Rainbow asked.

“Magic that earth ponies can do,” the filly responded. “That’s what the Gong said. Said it went against the natural order. Burned my parents…”

The filly began to cry, very hard and very loudly. Nurse Redheart walked into the room, once again the stern governess.

“Visiting hours are over,” she said, her Equestrian quite clear despite the years living among foreign nobles. They nodded, as the young filly cried, quickly slipping out. Rainbow took the time to grab up the bag before anyone could notice, slipping out of the room and slinging it around her neck.

“Rainbow, why did you take her bag?” Rarity asked, more than a little annoyed at the crass display.

“Well, if the Gong see it as worth killing over, then it must be important,” Rainbow replied.

“The Gong are profligate pillagers. They do not need a reason to commit rapine,” Rarity said dismissively. Her tone was haughty, picking up on the artificial dialect that was so common among the noble courts. “What happened is sad, horrible even. But hardly unique here. Ever wonder why we, as autocrats, are so loved by our people?”

“Because we’re foreigners who keep the taxes low and stay out of their business,” Rainbow stated.

“Exactly,” Rarity confirmed. “Even among the nobles more deserving of the word, certain… liberties are taken with the local population.”

“I don’t see how this relates to my borrowing of her books,” Rainbow said with exasperation.

“Because those are hers. They belonged to her parents. You’re a war orphan too, you should understand,” Rarity said, before stopping at a window. She looked upon the blue mountain which dominated the skyline. Often the newly noble pony would stare out at in in revelry, as though it held some deep secret.

“These books might be dangerous! I know you think I hate this job, but if it would hurt the ponies in this village, or help them, then I have to make sure that it won’t bring our doom,” Rainbow said with a mix of anger and annoyance, juvenile wings open in agitation.

The room that Rainbow had sequestered herself in was in the interior of the castle. It was dark, and cold, heated by a well tended fire. The young mare was clearly the worst for ware, spending days reading the texts by candlelight. Her white mane was all over the place, and she had shed her daily clothes for her evening robe and underwear.

To the young pegasus who was wronged, though, it didn’t matter. She was so angry that she snuck off, naked even, for the fateful confrontation. Her face showed anger and defiance despite her comically misaligned eyes. She was ready to begin to her tirade, before being cut off.

“Hello Derpy. I expected you to visit me,” Rainbow said, suddenly and with far too even a tone of voice.

“How do you know my name!?” Derpy yelled, caught off hoof and far too angry to care about yelling at one of her betters.

“Because the maids and hoofponies talked to me about you. I have a special interest in you now. I suppose I should be thankful…” Rainbow rambled, before catching herself. She was still bent over her ill gotten books, and instead of talking, she merely continued to read.

“You stole my parents book,” Derpy spat out, though in truth she felt more than a little fear because of the seemingly half-feral pony before her.

“I read your parents books,” Rainbow replied, unnaturally

“… you learned my parent’s magic?” Derpy asked, cautiously.

“I learned something better than magic,” Rainbow replied, slowly turning around. The play of lights and shadows made her seem taller than she was, and their red glow made her appear as a much darker and more menacing mare. There were bags under her eyes, and her features were twisted in a manically gleeful expression, her entire being expending all its effort to express a single word, a singular concept to sum up the entirety of her new passion and purpose.

“I learned SCIENCE!”

“Forceps,” Rainbow ordered, blood covered hoof outreached.

“Muffin,” Derpy replied, putting said confection in the mare’s hand.

Rainbow was seemingly confused. Her hair was till neglected, though not nearly was wild. Though there were still bags under her eyes from her initial science binge and her now frequent all nighters, she was getting something resembling sleep. Her clothes were those of a doctor now, and as such more akin to a chief or a griffin butcher. Before her, on the embalmer’s table, was a dead Gong spy. It was quite a boon for Rainbow’s study of the body: he was strung up nearly two hours ago, and other than some obvious bruising around the neck was in nearly perfect condition. Except for the large slit made down the barrel of it's chest, but since Rainbow and Derpy made that, it didn't count.

“Derpy, this isn’t a set of forceps,” Rainbow said, clearly adjitated.

“No, Mistress, it’s a muffin. Your observational skills are much better than mine, as always,” Derpy said, just as frustrated. Her expression retained its absolute seriousness for only a few moments, as her previously paralyzed eye began to roll up against her will once more.

“Derpy, why must you always do this at the most inappropriate times?” Rainbow asked.

“Because you need to eat! You’re wasting away worst than I did,” Derpy replied.

“Rarity doesn’t think so,” Rainbow said defiantly.

“Lady Rarity spends more time staring at dumb rocks than you spend doing this!” Derpy said, gesturing at the body. She looked over at it, and then screamed.

The body began to spasm on the table, jerking around as it did when it was still a pony being strung up. It’s eyes widened, and it’s face was contorted into a grim smile. This caused Rainbow to scream as well, jumping back to the nearest wall, keeping her eyes on the corpse.

“Mistress Rainbow, Derpy, what’s going on!” Nurse Redheart yelled, running in as quickly as she could. She then quickly assessed the situation, from the sliced open body trying to dance on the table to the two fillies cowering against the far wall. “Oh by all that is holy WHAT IN THE NINE HELLS ARE YOU TWO DOING?!”

“I DON’T KNOW!” Rainbow yelled back.

“Autopsy,” Derpy replied, with much more calm than Rainbow, but still clearly distraught.

“Then it’s the rigor mortis,” Redheart said, angry but still calm. “And the jerking around would be corpse convulsions, likely from the fact that he suffered a traumatic death. It’ll end soon. For now.”

Sure enough, like the experienced nurse said, the corpse calmed down. It held the position it had in death, though, twitching every now and then as it continued that weird, wide eyed smile.

“Now I’ll have to get the garden hose,” Nurse Redheart sighed, walking out of the room. “Don’t you two dare move.”

There was a moment of silence shared between the two fillies and the corpse, before Rainbow looked over to Derpy. “Exactly who’s minion are you, Derpy?”

“Depends,” Derpy replied, relaxing back to her normal, world weary state.

Rarity had taken to having walks on the dumb blue mountain. Rainbow didn’t know why. It appeared as though it was a convulsion, a ritual that she had developed to ease her mind even if it made the villagers worry. Though it was at those times, on her dainty little picnics up what was normally a perilous climb, that she was apparently the most approachable.

Both Rainbow and Derpy had been growing into their wings. Rainbow wanted to show off the wonderous inventions that she had made. Derpy wanted to help, as the two eccentric young mares were the closest friends that she currently had.

“Rarity! I made a new thing!” Rainbow yelled as she deceneded from the sky, pieces of a machine in her saddlebags. She had started to make her inventions modular, for easy transport.

“Hmmhmm dear. What would that thing be?” Rarity asked.

“I… don’t know yet… I’m thinking a cultivator.” Rainbow replied.

“It could be an automatic muffin launcher if we made the tubes bigger,” Derpy said absentmindedly.

“Yes dears, I’m sure it would,” Rarity absently noted. “What do you think, Tom?”

The large boulder situated across from her was as silent. Likely because as pleasant as the company was, it was situated dangerously on the edge of a cliff. But Tom was just that sort of gentleman. At least, Rarity told herself that.

“Forgive Tom for his rudeness,” Rarity said. “He’s Pranch, and while elegant does not understand our ways.”

“Umm… are you feeling okay, Rarity?” Rainbow asked.

“No, Rainbow, I’m not feeling okay. Because I am compelled to be here,” Rarity said, anger slowly rising in her voice. “Every day, every single day, I get a weird itch in my horn that grows stronger and stronger until I come here.”

“Umm… Rarity…” Rainbow tried to interject.

“In fact, it’s a wonder that I stay sane at this rate, surrounded by this desolent mountain and these dumb… stupid… ROCK!” Rarity screamed, throwing a teacup at Tom with her magic. She then bounded up, trying to trackle the rock and only dirtying her elegant clothes in the process. “DUMB ROCK!”

“Lady Rarity, do you need help?” Derpy asked.

“Dumb rock!” Rarity scream, bucking it. Although a unicorn, it seemed as though she had Earth pony magic for this moment, her young rear hooves pushing the rock back ever so much.

“Dumb rock!” Rarity screamed again, bucking more, pushing the rock back even further.

“Dumb, stupid, rock!” Rarity screamed, giving the rock another buck. It would be it’s last, as it finally fell over the edge, shattering on the granite platform below with a mighty crack. The sight was something to behold, almost as though it was a living thing pushed over the edge by its passionate murderess, spilling forth it’s innards in a shower of multicolored gems.

“Holy crap,” Rainbow said quietly at the display, walking quietly to the edge of the cliff with Derpy, past the sobbing Rarity.

“By the creator and the gods,” Derpy whispered in awe. “Those are every sort of gems imaginable. Emeralds, sapphires, quartz, diamonds… everything. We have everything.”

“Gems?” Rarity asked, quickly running over to the edge. Her juvenile face went from sadness to glee. “Not just gems, jewels! We have jewels!”

She hopped off, something ill advise for anyone unicorn save those with the strongest tinge of Earth pony blood flowing through their vains. When she landed, she began to laugh in manic glee, sorting through the valuable, semi-valuable and junk stones with the grace and talent afforded by those who have discovered their special talent. “We’re rich! The lands rich! The village is rich! Everypony is rich!”

“That could be a freak accident,” Rainbow said.

“Unless we have rock farmers here,” Derpy stated. “The rock farmers of Equestria produce so many gems with their specialized application of magic that mineral eating creatures like dragons are the only thing not inflating the market.”

In this time Rarity’s horn glowed brightly. With a combination of magic and hoof, she began to burrow into the ground, disregarding any sort of cleanliness or grace. By the time Rainbow and Derpy got down to her level on the platform, she had already discovered a vein. “Can we afford Pies?!”

“We can bake pies,” Rainbow replied with caution.

“Yes, we can afford the Pie clan! They’ll come here for free with deposits this rich, if we’re willing to negotiate a percentage of the ‘harvests’,” Derpy replied. At Rainbow’s baffled look, Derpy gave a shrug. “You have a beautiful raw genius, Mistress Rainbow. I can focus on more practical matters.”

Rarity emerged from the cave. She was filthy, her hair was a mess, her dress was in tatters, and she was the happiest she had been in her entire life. “The harvest has been poor and fighting season is coming soon. If we can afford food, afford factories, afford everything we need to make our village levy the best damn free company there ever was and arm our allies with weapons of our design…”

“Whoa whoa whoa. Weapons? For killing ponies?” Rainbow asked, shocked at the suggestion.

“We’re feudal lords protecting our lands, Rainbow,” Rarity began. “If we make weapons that outclasses our opponents’ levys, give our Earth ponies enough power to overcome their inbred unicorn mages…”

“… make fighting seasons shorter… wars so costly rulers balk at fighting… industry advanced enough that simply holding land is not enough…” Rainbow continued, caught up in the thinking.

“End campaigns faster, save the lives of those who would normally die of camp sicknesses. Giving the common pony the means to confront tyranny first hoof, and wrest power from the martial classes,” Derpy continued on.

“I’ll do it,” Rainbow promised. “I’ll make your weapons. Somehow.”

Duty and honor. Dedicating oneself to a lord, even to one’s own death. Weilding a weapon that had been made by a master craftsman, worth the soul of it’s owner. Learning drills, and performing them over a thousand times. Reaching such heights of perfection that even an Earth Pony could cut the very clouds themselves. Years of training, of physical and mental preparation, all leading up to a charge to seek out single battle.

This had been the way of war for thousands of years.

With the roar of fire from small firearms, these warriors were shown that war had changed.

Capable of firing at a rate of over 200 rounds per minute, with its rotating barrel and hand cranked automatic reloading system, this gentlecolts is the Rainbow Machine Gun. Created by renowned inventor Dr. Rainbow Spectrum, this gun can provide a continuous rate of fire without pause for reloading.

The company of Earth Pony knights that had been charging forward were comfortably within the range of the hundreds. Unlike levy troops, who relied on ponderous mass movements and mutual support, these ponies were best at lightning strikes and single combat. Yet even as the hearts of those facing them were quivering in fear, the generals presiding over the battle stood unphased.

With this weapon in your arsenal, a trained crew of just four Earth ponies can do the work of fourscore trained battle mages, reducing the cost of your army and increasing its effectiveness. And all through Equestrian ingenuity!

The indigenous officer looked on at the invention’s work in horror. He had never before seen such awesome carnage before. Even his thoughts of home, his thankfulness to be alive, were set aside for a moment as the proud armored warriors who had spent their their lives training for this moment were cut down by so few. Their armor, which could withstand the blows of swords and arrow alike, were punctured by the bullets. From the much wider exit wound of the high caliber bullet could be seen puffs of even from their distance. A few were even shot through the neck, nearly decapitating the warriors in a gruesome sight.

Those few that survived the machine guns would have to face the rifleponies. Well drilled and armed with the much less expensive but highly effective individual breech loaders, they let loose a disciplined hail of fire. Practically everything in their forward arch died. Everything that didn’t met their end either at the point of a bayonet, or the butt of a rifle.

Such was the fate of an army of well trained feudal warloards, sent to suppress a peasant uprising backed by aristocracy with delusions of enlightened republicanism and democracy.

So gentlecolts, are you ready to sign?

Such was how Rainbow aided Rarity and Derpy in their revenge against the Gong. That they made a nice chunk of change profiting from the constant warfare that occurred outside of Equestria, and even the playing field a great deal, made things all the better.

Author's Note:

Like I said, if I get a TVTropes from this, it'll be really weird. Especially since the initial snippet that spawned this story was based off the trailer for "Total War: Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai". Good game, by the way.

Small genius bonus, the Gatling Gun was originally invented by Dr. Richard Gatling, and was based off his design for a seed planting machine. He made it in part because camp diseases were observed to be the predominate killer of soldiers in European and American military campaigns. Rainbow Dash is much more ideological, in part because this particular characterization is based in part off my favorite characterization of Lex Luthor.

I'll be doing minor edits as I go along, either for grammatical purposes or to keep the ratings in line with an American PG-13.